Video marketing

Dec 27, 2020

Getting creative with your video marketing efforts requires a continual adaptation of your strategy, but doing so will allow you to make the most of this valuable marketing tool.

Viewers watch more than 1 billion hours of video daily on YouTube, so it is no surprise that AEC firms are increasingly using video marketing as a component of their marketing programs. One of the newer trends in proposal development is the use of embedded videos and hyperlinks to videos, allowing traditional proposals to benefit from more dynamic content. With fewer in-person business development and networking opportunities, we’ve found that videos provide a connection with our clients during the proposal and interview process, and that can be extended into the design, construction, and overall lifecycle of the project.

A few years ago, we introduced Pennoni FX Studios, our in-house design visualization team, which uses engineering data to bring our projects and designs to life. Through these efforts we’ve seen success in achieving stakeholder approvals and providing understanding of complex projects to the public. We’ve seen more opportunities to utilize these visualizations and videos in our proposals, shortlist interviews, and even as stand-alone, fee generating projects.

Our PFX group has grown and we recently had our busiest month creating design visualizations for our colleagues in various stages of their projects. These visualizations can range from still images with surrounding context provided from sources such as NearMaps to full videos with real time HDLS and drone imagery. As our design visualizations efforts have taken off, we’ve added non-traditional “out of the box” hires to take our videos to the next level. Our “visionaries” are a diverse group with a unique combination of engineering, gaming, and artistic skill sets. They are engineers, designers, and industry animation experts that all have a passion for storytelling.

Some examples of where we’ve seen success in implementing our videos beyond YouTube and other social platforms includes:

  • The development of a public outreach video series for a department of transportation. This series shows staging for a variety of typical DOT construction projects. These videos help the DOT answer questions from the public, such as, “Why does it take so long to replace a culvert?”
  • Smart City and innovation initiatives can be highly technical and complex. We developed a video to help a research institute illustrate the purpose and end result of implementing a living laboratory testing ground in the heart of a city. The video helped provide awareness for the public as well as attract potential investors to enhance economic development in the city.
  • To assist with conveying the design team’s concepts during the proposal and interview stages, we developed a complete digital twin of the communities that would be impacted by bridge replacement projects, including incredible attention to engineering detail and aesthetics.
  • To attract investors and educate stakeholders, we developed videos showing the complexity of process equipment that takes waste and converts it to energy.
  • Anything is possible once we vet the client needs and understand their potential audience.

Getting creative with your video marketing efforts requires a continual adaptation of your strategy. However, finding ways to integrate those efforts into the work you’re doing for your clients is a great way to take advantage of the impact that videos can have on your audience. We live in a three-dimensional world and with the evolution of technology, we have found that our clients will expect these types of presentations. We have also begun integrating virtual reality into our videos. As the technology evolves, more and more will be expected. The AEC world should be a leader in adding these types of offerings to our list of services.

Joseph Spadea, PE is Pennoni’s design visualization practice leader and a senior bridge engineer. Contact him at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.